"Tasers, Cocaine, Animal Cruelty": Police Give Details On Racing Investigation
Victoria Police have spoken about the raids on Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Victoria police in conjunction with Racing Victoria gave a press conference at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, at which more details on the raids on the Darren Weir stables and other residential premises were revealed.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said:
"I can let you know that we have initially located a number of items which police have seized, including what we believe to be an unregistered firearm, three conducted energy devices, commonly called tasers, or in the racing industry referred to as jiggers.
And at another property, we also seized a fourth conducted energy device, and a small amount of what we believe to be cocaine."
These offences relate to offences of obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome, and the use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and attempting to commit an indictable offence, and also charges that relate to animal cruelty."
The Assistant Commissioner was unable to give further specifics "because of the complexity of the ongoing investigation".
Tasers or "jiggers" are illegal devices used to give an electronic shock to a horse to make it run faster. They can be used in races, and also in training.
Officers as well as Racing Victoria stewards arrived at the stables at Miners Rest, near Ballarat, and also at the Warrnambool stables, just before 6am on Wednesday.
Three people were arrested during the raids including a 48-year-old Miners Rest man, a 38-year-old Yangery man and a 26-year-old Warrnambool man.
It has now been confirmed that Darren Weir was one of the men arrested.
Weir has been Australia's most consistently successful trainer for several years now. Last racing season (August to August) he trained 282 winners in Victoria alone, more than double his nearest rival.
He is best known as the man who prepared 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance, retaining Michelle Payne as jockey despite the urgings of certain people to put a male jockey on instead.
Police will now interview the men in relation to sporting integrity and corruption. The matters include obtaining financial advantage by deception and engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome of an event.
A firearm and what is believed to be a conducted energy device (a taser is an example of such a device) were seized from the properties.
Racing Victoria Executive General Manager -- Integrity, Jamie Stier, issued a statement this morning regarding the execution of warrants this morning by Victoria Police in Warrnambool and Ballarat. It read in part:
“Racing Victoria’s Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas.
During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit on the matter, instigating their investigation.
The Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit this morning executed warrants at properties in Warrnambool and Ballarat where they arrested three licensed persons for questioning.
Members of the Racing Victoria Integrity Services team attended licensed stables to assist Victoria Police and to investigate potential offences against the Rules of Racing.
The Weir stable has several horses entered into today's midweek meeting at Mornington, including at least two which are likely to jump as favourite. Racing Victoria has not at this stage ordered them to be scratched.